History Sunday: Automatic Eyeball Washer

Strange as it may seem, there was a time when households everywhere didn’t have the humble Automatic Eyeball Washer. Stranger still, that time wasn’t even very long ago; the Automatic Eyeball Washer that most of us use daily (and the rest of us, at least twice a day) was only invented back in 1946, by William Connor. It’s hard to imagine a life without fresh, clean eyeballs every day, but that was the reality; after all, no one had time to hand-wash their eyes in the morning. It took forever!

Scott Connor was 11 when his father invented the Conno-Vision Eyewash System. He remembers what his life was like before the creation of this great invention:

“It was fortune that brought my father to invent this type of thing; Dad was completely blind, so the prototypes wouldn’t harm his vision. Actually, that’s only half true; he was born with working eyes, and lost sight in one of them through a freak high-fiving accident. Then his other eye went blind from… one of the early prototypes. But, it ended up working out for him, and allowing him to invent the eye-washer.”

Scott Connor says that his father insisted on hand-washed eyes daily, resulting in lateness to school nearly every day, after the 2-hour procedure of hand-washing. After the invention, he was finally able to arrive at school on time, as the automatic washer only took 30 minutes. Now, through almost 70 years of innovation, this too seems like an extravagant amount of time; as we all know, modern eye washers only take a quick 20 minutes, allowing us to maintain extremely clean eyes.


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